31.07.2022 23:15 h

Jota strikes as Celtic launch title defence

Jota produced a moment of class as Celtic launched the defence of their Scottish Premiership title with a 2-0 win at home to Aberdeen on Sunday.

Celtic centre-back Stephen Welsh headed the Hoops in front in the third minute to the delight of the Glasgow giants' fans at Parkhead.

But although Celtic remained on top for most of the match thereafter, it wasn't until 15 minutes from time that Jota made the game safe for the champions.

The Portuguese winger let fly with a powerful shot from 20 yards that gave Aberdeen goalkeeper Kelle Roos no chance on his first Premiership appearance.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou, however, was far from happy, with the Australian saying of Jota: "There is no doubt the boy has talent and he is determined to be the best footballer he can be.

"But he was one of the main culprits in the last 15 minutes of the first half.

"He was wasteful with the ball and he gave away possession when he didn't have to. These are the kind of things we have to avoid."

He added: "We have to keep these guys on track and not let them get away from the things we want them to do.

"The good thing is he addressed it at half-time and in the second half, not just his goal but his general play was really good."

Celtic had gone ahead when Welsh rose highest in the Dons area to glance in Matt O'Riley's corner.

Roos was soon in for a busy match, Hoops midfielder Reo Hatate testing him with a long-distance shot in the 10th minute.

He then made an even better save to deny Kyogo Furuhashi's powerful drive and Roos then tipped a drive from O'Riley over the bar for a corner.

But a rare Aberdeen attack saw former Celtic winger Jonny Hayes send a low drive past the post when he ought to have at least hit the target.

Sunday's other match in Scotland's top-flight ended in a 1-0 victory for 10-man Motherwell over St Mirren, with Kevin van Veen's first-half penalty giving a side managed by caretaker boss Steven Hammell all three points.